In a Wall Street Journal editorial Esther Dyson outlines how she will post her genome, medical history and health questionnaire for the world to see on the Web.
Will you follow?
Dyson, an investor in genome information startup 23andMe, is participating in Harvard geneticist George Church's Personal Genome project. In the editorial Dyson outlines her motives (subscription required):
First, I want to show that there's nothing especially magical about my genome. It doesn't hold secret knowledge that will allow others to harm me as they might by sticking pins into a voodoo doll. In fact, I feel more trepidation about releasing other information that is more personal because it will reflect my behavior (yes, I inhaled, but not a lot!), the fact that I saw a shrink (but not for long), and so on.
I don't have any deep secrets or vulnerabilities that would embarrass or create risks for myself, or for relatives who share my genes. I don't have an employer who could fire me for black marks on my health record, and I have health insurance (for the next three years anyway) which will cover me for whatever ensues from the pre-cancerous colon polyp that was discovered and removed a couple of years ago.
But what about the people who are less fortunate than me? I want to push questions about those less lucky to the fore -- and get us all to think about them.
Dyson also adds that genome discrimination is a big emerging issue. She also thinks genome and medical information will increasingly make it to the Internet anyway.
The rest of the editorial is worth a read and raises some interesting issues. Dyson appears to be ahead of the curve when it comes to sharing her genome.
What Dyson writes is quite logical--yet creepy. Dyson will be definitely ahead of the curve on the topic. Good luck Esther. I'll be a late follower on this one.